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Bedford, Ohio
City of Bedford
Broadway Avenue in Bedford
Broadway Avenue in Bedford
Official seal of Bedford, Ohio
Seal
Nickname(s): 
Bedford Falls (in reference to the town in the movie It's A Wonderful Life)
Location in Cuyahoga County and the state of Ohio.
Location in Cuyahoga County and the state of Ohio.
Location of Ohio in the United States
Location of Ohio in the United States
Country United States
State Ohio
County Cuyahoga
Area
 • Total 5.39 sq mi (13.96 km2)
 • Land 5.34 sq mi (13.83 km2)
 • Water 0.05 sq mi (0.13 km2)  0.93%
Elevation
948 ft (289 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 13,074
 • Estimate 
(2019)
12,457
 • Density 2,331.90/sq mi (900.41/km2)
  census
Time zone UTC-4 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
Zip code
44146
Area code(s) 440
FIPS code 39-04878
GNIS feature ID 1060854
Website http://www.bedfordoh.gov

Bedford is a city in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States located to the east of Cleveland. The population was 13,074 at the 2010 census. It is an eastern first ring suburb of Cleveland.

Geography

Bedford is located at 41°23′33″N 81°32′04″W / 41.392404°N 81.534441°W / 41.392404; -81.534441.

According to the 2010 census, the city has a total area of 5.40 square miles (14.0 km2), of which 5.35 square miles (13.9 km2) (or 99.07%) is land and 0.05 square miles (0.13 km2) (or 0.93%) is water.

History

Bedford began as part of the Connecticut Western Reserve in 1797 and was surveyed Seth Pease and Amzi Atwater, under the direction of Moses Cleaveland. The area was originally marked as Lot 46 of the Western Reserve Survey and after the survey it was labeled as Range II Township 6 which would eventually become Bedford Township.

The area attracted many enterprising settlers as it had both an abundance of hardwood forests and Tinkers Creek, which had waterfalls that were conducive for building mills. The first settlers to the area started to arrive in 1813.

In 1816, the Taylor Chair Company was created by Benjamin Franklin Fitch along the banks of Tinkers Creek. The original workshop site was located at the corners of Libby Rd and Warrensville-Center Rd in Bedford, Oh. The company is still in existence today and is considered to be the longest running, single family owned company in the US.

Bedford Township was officially founded in 1823 and Township 6 was renamed Bedford Township by Daniel Benedict, originally a native of Bedford, New York.

From the 1830s to 1890s, industries spring up along Tinkers Creek, using the fast-flowing water as a source of power to operate numerous mills.

In 1834, the First Baptist Church was established to help meet the religious needs of the growing population in the area. In 1892, the church moved into its first dedicated building located on the Bedford Commons. The old First Baptist Church is a stone building done in the Late Gothic Revival style and was designed by architect Jacob Snyder. In 1968, the First Baptist Church moved to its present location at the corner of Turney Road and West Glendale Avenue. The old stone church still stands though and is owned by the Bedford Historical Society. It currently serves as a community building and a rental hall.

In 1837, the population of Bedford Township had grown to be 475 people and at that time, the residents petitioned to become the Village of Bedford, which sits at the geographic center of Bedford Township. At this time, Hezekiah Dunham, who was a prominent and wealthy local business man, and his wife, Clarissa Dunham, donated three acres of land for the village to be able to build a public square as well as other public and religious buildings. The deed for the land stated the property was to be "used as a public square forever."

1861 - 1865 Bedford sends over 280 of its sons to fight in the Civil War. A monument to these men was erected in 1886 to commemorate their sacrifices.

1890s - Bedford becomes a train isthmus for the railroad network. In 1889, the Bedford Depot for passengers awaiting trains is built.

1905 - A new Bedford Central High School is opened (now part of Central Primary School, it is one of the oldest continuously operating school buildings in the area)

1915 - The village of Maple Heights splits from Bedford Township, In 1932 Maple Heights achieves city status. The village of Maple Heights left Bedford Township in 1915.


1921 - Saint Mary's Parish becomes Bedford's first Catholic parish.

In 1927, the Bedford Municipal Hospital was built. The original hospital still stands, though it has been heavily added onto since it was first constructed. It is now operated as a branch of University Hospitals of Cleveland.

1927 - The new Bedford Senior High School opens at the corner of Washington Street and Columbus Street to accommodate a growing student body. This would later be known as Moody High School, then later Moody Junior High School. It was demolished in the 1990s; the Bedford Southeast Public Library now occupies the site. It borders Tarbell Avenue, one of the oldest brick-paved streets in Ohio.

1927 - Bedford Gardening Club established. Bedford's Gardening Club is the oldest continuously active gardening club in Cuyahoga County.

1928 - The Vincentian Sisters of Charity open their convent. Bedford Hospital established.

1930 - The 1,650-foot (500 m) Northfield Road Bridge opens for traffic.

1932 - The City of Bedford adopts a Council-Manager form of municipal government.

The first car dealerships opened on Broadway Avenue in the early 1950s and formed the Bedford Automile Dealers Association in 1956, formally creating the first Bedford Automile. The Bedford Automile Dealers Association was created to not only give the car dealerships in the area a unified voice for working with the city but to also create a group who would actively help to improve the city.

On February 20, 1951, the northeast corner of Bedford Township broke off from the City of Bedford and incorporated to become the village of Bedford Heights, Ohio. Bedford Heights achieved city status in 1961.

1951 - Several villages were established, splitting off from Bedford Township. Bedford Township existed as a government until 1951, when the city of Bedford Heights, the village of Oakwood, and the village of Walton Hills were established.

1952 - St. Pius X Parish established by the Marist Fathers.

1957 - St. Peter Chanel High School opens and Bedford High School also opens, both on Northfield Road.

1958 - Lumen Cordium opens.

1958 - Bedford Senior High School, located at 481 Northfield Road, is opened.

1963 - St. Peter Chanel High is expanded.

1969 - The 10-story Willard House Apartment opens for residents.

1969-1971 - Bedford High expands, adding the North and South wings, expansion of the vocational wing, and addition of the Robert W. Wright Natatorium.

1971 - Elmer Flick dies at age 94 and is laid to rest in Bedford.

1980s - Northfield Road Bridge is renovated; rededicated on September 12, 1987, by Governor Richard F. Celeste; the events surrounding the re-opening of the bridge cap off Bedford's sesquicentennial celebration.

1988 - Lumen Cordium closes; all students transfer to St. Peter Chanel High School.

1994 - The Marist Fathers leave St. Peter Chanel High School; the school also breaks its football losing streak.

1994 - Bedford Bearcat Stadium is dedicated and opens during a weeklong schedule of activities. The Bearcats defeat Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin 4-0.

2001 - St. Peter Chanel High School wins its first State Football Championship title.

2000s - The Automile shifts from Broadway Avenue to Rockside Road.

2009 - Saint Mary Parish closes in November 2009 due to Cleveland area Catholic Church downsizing. Merged with Saint Pius (Holy Trinity of Bedford Heights also closes in the three way merger); merged churches renamed Our Lady of Hope (Saint Wenseslas of Maple Heights merged previously several years before with Saint Pius).

2012 - Saint Mary won an appeal with the Catholic Diocese to reopen its doors in April 2012. Bedford once again has two Roman Catholic Churches.

2013 - St. Peter Chanel High School closes after 56 years.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 1,853
1860 1,098 −40.7%
1870 828 −24.6%
1880 768 −7.2%
1890 1,043 35.8%
1900 1,486 42.5%
1910 3,791 155.1%
1920 4,582 20.9%
1930 6,814 48.7%
1940 7,390 8.5%
1950 9,105 23.2%
1960 15,223 67.2%
1970 17,552 15.3%
1980 15,003 −14.5%
1990 14,822 −1.2%
2000 14,214 −4.1%
2010 13,074 −8.0%
Est. 2019 12,457 −4.7%
Sources:

96.2% spoke English, 1.3% Spanish, and 0.9% Polish at home.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 13,074 people, 6,265 households, and 3,346 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,443.7 inhabitants per square mile (943.5/km2). There were 6,951 housing units at an average density of 1,299.3 per square mile (501.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 53.9% White, 41.9% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.6% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.0% of the population.

There were 6,265 households, of which 25.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.2% were married couples living together, 17.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 46.6% were non-families. 41.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.08 and the average family size was 2.83.

The median age in the city was 41.9 years. 21.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.4% were from 25 to 44; 28.9% were from 45 to 64; and 17% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 45.8% male and 54.2% female.

Surrounding communities

Economy

In addition to the important commercial districts of the Automile and Historic District, Bedford is home to a few large companies that employ many residents in the area. Xellia Pharmaceuticals, a company owned by Danish Novo Holdings A/S, opened a manufacturing facility in Bedford in 2017.

Art of Beauty is another big employer in Bedford. The beauty supply company is most well known for its Zoya brand of nail polishes and nail care products.

Nature Stone Flooring is a local company that makes epoxy stone flooring materials. The epoxy resin used is patent pending and the company, founded in 1989, is the largest maker of this type of flooring.

Other large employers in Bedford include:

  • University Hospitals Bedford Medical Center, a comprehensive medical center that has been serving the community for over 90 years. The medical center staffs 193 physicians and numerous other healthcare workers.
  • Ganley Bedford Imports, Jay Buick GMC, and Motorcars Acquisitions, members of the Bedford Automile.
  • Renhill Group, a company based in Toledo and Parma that helps staff the local schools.
  • Woodside Senior Living, a facility offering independent living, assisted living, and memory care for senior residents.
  • Riser Foods Company, a warehouse and distribution center which is owned by Giant Eagle.

Education

Bedford is served by the Bedford City School District, which also serves the communities of Bedford Heights, Oakwood, and Walton Hills. There are approximately 3,400 students in the district, which covers an area of 22 square miles. There are six schools:

  • Glendale Primary School
  • Central Primary School
  • Columbus Intermediate School
  • Carylwood Intermediate School
  • Heskett Middle School
  • Bedford High School

In Bedford, 86.3 percent of students are enrolled in the public school system. There are only a few private school and private special education options in Bedford. The Holy Spirit Academy serves students from kindergarten through eighth grade.

Safely Home offers residential and outpatient programs for young people with special education needs and behavioral challenges. The Safely Home School provides specialized educational programming for students who have not been successful in traditional schools. Education Alternatives, non-profit educational agency, serves at-risk students in several Cleveland-area locations, including Bedford.

The Cuyahoga County Public Library Southeast Branch is located in Bedford. Educational youth services include free, after school mentoring and homework assistance. The branch also hosts Aspire Greater Cleveland services, which include adult literacy, GED, English as a second language, and job skills training.

Transportation

One of the main roads through Bedford is Ohio State Route 14 (OH-14). It runs northwest to southeast and follows the original stagecoach route between Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Within Bedford city limits, OH-14 is known as Broadway Avenue. Other main roads in Bedford include:

  • Columbus Road runs from the northeast to the Bedford Reservation.
  • Northfield Road (OH-8) runs north and south on the east side of the city.
  • Center Road runs north and south through the center of town.
  • Rockside Road runs east and west along the north edge of town.

Bedford is served by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. Bus route 76: Broadway – Turney travels between downtown Cleveland and the Southgate Transit Center in Maple Heights with several stops in downtown Bedford. Route 90F: Broadway – Libby travels between downtown Cleveland and Oakwood Village with stops in Bedford along Northfield Road.

Notable people

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